T-Shirts for Architects

August 25, 2011 — 223 Comments

I have always wanted to have a cool architectural t-shirt but I never really liked the ones I found and as a result, I’ve never had that cool architectural t-shirt. Back when I was in school, before the invention of the Internet where you can find just about anything you ever wanted, you were out of luck finding a cool t shirt unless you had the ability to make it yourself … which I didn’t. For some reason, since I was wasting a full 6 hours a night sleeping, I decided that I was going to try designing my own t-shirts. It started off just being for myself but I was pleasantly surprised by some of the feedback I received. As a result, I’ve expanded on my idea and I am bringing these babies into the light of day. Hopefully it’s not like seeing a bar in the light of day – some things are best left in the dark.

The concept is a periodic table of design – complete with each shirt having its place on the actual periodic table, as well as the key components that make up each element, i.e. – for the element Mo “Modern”, you have a George Nelson clock, an Arco Floor lamp, and the Swan Chair from Arne Jacobsen. Each element has its own hieroglyphs – each lovingly created by me. I tried to make these as pro as I am able which included using lots of different software platforms, some of which I barely know. I drew each graphic in AutoCAD, imported it into Adobe Illustrator, exported everything to Photoshop where I assembled all the different pieces, and then exported it out as a PNG file so that it could get printed on these shirts. Was it worth it? I don’t know, but I did it so that these would be vector graphics and would print out clean and sharp. I like to accomplish what I set out to do and I feel like I’ve done that here.


Modern T Shirt from Life of an Architect

Each “element” has it’s own unique elemental class – which started out as something completely ridiculous but made me laugh. The Architecture Student elemental class was: ‘Sleepili Deprivicus’ … but after seeing a pattern emerge (drinkicus, teesquaricus, lampicus, ramenoodlicus, etc.icus) and realizing that almost all were ending with “icus” it wasn’t funny anymore. Okay, it was still a little funny.  The names are in Latin but they actually mean something now. The elemental class for Modern is: “apparatus pro victus” which loosely translates into “Machine for Living”. Since Latin is a dead language and you are unlikely to run into anyone who will be able to translate what it really means, you can make up your own, much cooler meaning … or I could go back to “stinkicus bloodyfingericus”.

Hmmm? I think noticus.

** UPDATE ** due to billions of requests, now there are ladies t-shirts … they are of the same design, just on lady shaped t-shirts. (here)


Architecture Student T Shirt from Life of an Architect

You can also click on each shirt graphic here to be taken directly to that t-shirt on my Life of an Architect Printfection shop – you know … if you wanted to do something like that.


Architect T Shirt from Life of an Architect

Each of these t-shirts comes in many different colors, so if you hate brown (which I have heard is a crazy possibility) you can change the t-shirt to a color that you would prefer.


Urban Design T Shirt from Life of an Architect

CAD Ninja T Shirt from Life of an Architect

Bh Bauhaus Element T Shirt from Life of an ArchitectKd Kitchen Designer Element T Shirt from Life of an Architect.

Interior Designer T Shirt from Life of an ArchitectOkay, so I don’t actually think that any interior designers are going to wear this t-shirt out in public, it’s hot but not haute. However, I have it on good authority that after seeing this shirt, Ric­cardo Tisci is rethinking his Spring line … as well he should be. Thank goodness that these are perfect for wearing while your trying to figure out what you are going to wear.

. …

Design T Shirt from Life of an Architect


When I asked around before doing this, I was told that I had better not remove the original ‘Old School Architect’ …

Old School Architect T Shirt

or the ‘Architectural Scale Figures’ graphics from the shop.


Architectural Scale Figures T Shirt


Full Throttle T-Shirt from Life of an Architect


Since the detail of these is hard to see at this scale, I’ve included the individual elemental graphics here at a larger scale. The t-shirt size of each graphic is 5.5″ wide and 9.72″ tall, or in other words, big enough to see what’s going on.


.Periodic Table of Design from Life of an Architect

These are the individual elemental hieroglyphs that show up on the various t-shirts … yes, believe it or not I designed and drew each one of these suckers in AutoCAD. The map of Rome and the tree were by far the biggest pains to create, but if you’re going to try and do something, you might as well give your it best 60% – at least that’s what I always say.

Architectural T Shirts Icon page from Life of an Architect



So here’s the kicker: Since I appreciate you tolerating my self-indulgence, I am going to be giving away a bunch of these t-shirts over the next few weeks (the feedback and giveaway period ends September 9th, 2011). All you have to do to possibly get one for free is to tell me which one you want (which element and the t-shirt color) down in the comment section below. If you want to enter twice, head on over to my Life of an Architect Facebook page and tell me there as well. If you are chosen as one of the winners, I will send you a discreet email asking for your size preference.

If you don’t want to wait, or can’t bear the thought of not winning, please feel free to buy one seven of these t-shirts … either for yourself or for that someone special;  it will show them that you care … not a whole lot but enough to get them a t-shirt. If I do sell any of these things, please know that I intend to take my wife out to dinner. When I am sitting on the couch writing garbage these insightful and inspiring posts, I really should be taking out the trash, cleaning the cat box, building fires or squishing bugs … taking my wife out once in a while on the Life of an Architect website dime is the least I can do, wouldn’t you agree?

Eventually I will add some more “elements” to the line up here –  I’ve already had a special request for a “Life Wife of an Architect” t-shirt so that one is already in the pipeline. It’s also possible that the hieroglyphs will “periodically” (good one Bob!) change so be prepared for something that exists today to be different from what might be coming in the future. As always, cheers and thank you.



ps – (twisting imaginary handlebar mustache, raising and lowering eyebrows) all the graphics are copyrighted so please don’t abscond with them for your own nefarious and dastardly uses








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  • Evrythngoriginl

    Would architecture be a waste of my artistic talent? Also how much drawing is there done in architecture cause I’m considering the field. Mostly I’m considering it because I’m gifted in math and drawing. Those are my strongest suits but my passion is art. I don’t mind problem solving or nothing but math is just something that comes natural so that’s not typically anything I care whether I do or don’t do. I do admire the works of the field. That was the first thing brought the consideration of becoming one in the first place cause there are so many gorgeous designs really. It appeals to me as an art would really.

  • Tracy Sonka Stultz

    Ordered over 2 weeks ago. Still no shirt!

  • Jura Origin

    Love the Logo’s,
    would be good to create some for all professions like Mechanical Engineers, that would probably really sell,

    • Me should probably be on the list. I have be too busy to add new topics to the list of existing, maybe I’ll be able to do that over the break.

  • I am torn between the pirate skull and Ar on green. By the way, your store looks like it only has one category on the left, Women’s. Could you put a category Unisex or Men’s so if someone navigates to Women’s they can click to navigate back?

    • The logo that reads “Women’s T-Shirts” is a link to the women’s T-Shirts – all the shirts that are shown under that logo (which is the landing page) are the men’s or unisex shirts. If you did click on the Women’s T-Shirts logo, to navigate back, all you have to do is click the link on the left that reads “Store Home”

      • Bomephus


  • I really like the pirate skull and crossed tees. I noticed when I went to buy one that they all your shirts are are in the category of “Women’s” – are they really only available in women’s cut or are there actually unisex?

  • ef

    I love these! ‘Mo’ plz 🙂

  • Hello dearie,
    are they for sale yet Bob? and if not, why not???

    PS can you do Pm for Practice Manager please?
    One of the icons could be a whip…

  • Is the wine bottle on the interior designer shirt meant to signify: a)We have to drown our paint color palette sorrows when we don’t get our way? b) Drinking whilst cursing architects who create non-functional dead space that is incapable of being utilized or c) Drinking just to induce the proper designer persona?

  • Would love to have the Ar architects shirt in black. Thankfully still employed so i can pass up the free one, if you want to let me know how I can purchase one. If you said so above…just know..i only really look at pictures and hate to read these long discertations in architect speak. yawn.

  • I’d like the As tee in pistachio to rock around school. 🙂 Nice giveaway, awesome blog. Always a great read, kudos!

  • Steve

    Great designs! Just one missing…I realize I’m way past the contest discussion, but I’ll wait for the 2nd editions: to wit, the addition of a Landscape Architect t-shirt to your periodic table.
    Landscape Architect
    elemental class: genius loci
    (symbols-reuse your tree, coffee cup and the third could be either the T-square or the mouse, although I like the T-square. This saves you from drawing something new in AutoCAD.)
    Just a thought for future consideration. (I’d buy at least 1) Yeah, I know, big whoop.
    Really enjoy your blogs!

    • Good idea – I just need to find the time to generate the next wave. The ones I have in mind include:
      and Landscape.

      Eventually I thought I would include the major architectural periods like Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, etc.

      We;ll see how that comes along…


  • Hoffyzoe

    Thanks Bob for your comments!!  Very nice of you!  We do not have a web page for the event – too grass roots for that!! (and some are too old like me to think all that up!).  But we will be successful for this architech and if God is willing – he will one day be able to be an architech again!!  Thanks!

  • Lauren

    Bob:  I am on a team of persons trying to raise money for an architech friend.  He is 35 years old and was happily married with a 1 year old baby and was a marathon runner.  During a marathon here in Jacksonville Florida (at age 35 last year) he had a massive heart attack.  He was brought back to life on the course and had heart surgery.  He lost oxygen to his brain and was in a coma for weeks.  He is now finally walking again and talking too.  But has to re-learn everything….. and I mean everything like reading, math, etc.  He cannot work, of course, and the medical bills are gigantic.  We are doing a run for him to raise money and we want to use cool T-shirts that are about things he likes.  His name is Jared, by the way.  Would you be willing to donate 5 shirts to our cause possibly??  the 5 shirts are only for one of our 13 teams.  We are trying to raise $1,000 per team for him.  Please let me know.  The shirt we like the best for our team is the one with the archtech at his desk…. well, if beggars can be choosers.  Thanks for considering my request.  peace,

    • I’ll send you a email to discuss

    • Lauren,

      I am really sorry to hear about the terrible situation for your friend, I hope you are able to help him out in some meaningful manner. As to your request, I would have to pay for the creation of those shirts just as you would – despite them being my designs. With the exception of $2, the entire purchase price of each shirt goes to the company that makes them. As much as I would like for you to have a successful event, I can’t afford to donate product to everyone who asks. It makes me feel like a complete jerk to say no but I just don’t have the financial capability to accommodate your very reasonable request.

      That having been said, I am happy to donate what I do have – time and some energy. If you have a page or a link to the event, I am happy to use Life of an Architect to get the word out.


      Bob Borson AIA, LEED AP

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  • Lamro_1

    the grayed scale people on the black T is very niice.. 

  • Haylen

    I really like the ID shirt and I would wear it!

  • i love the ID and CAD NINJa t-shirt 😀

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  • Yooncha

    Just ordered the “Arsenic” shirt. The next few days will be one of the longest “5-6 days” of my life..

  • loco

    where can i get one?

  • I promise if I win, I will NEVER tell anyone what your middle name is, either! ;~)

  • Ok, Bob, Captain Awesome, you know that I am the one who needs this… the Design in pink or a nice blue to match my eyes… You bestest, best friend….

  • Holy crap Bob! I just found your site and realized TODAY was the 9th! I would love if you had either the CAD ninja or the skull and Tsquares in a medium! I have been on your blog for the past 3 hours. Keep up the good work!

  • Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS

    It’s gotta be Kd for me — gotta! And since you’re not offering stainless steel or oil rubbed bronze, my colors will have to be white type on black background. Thanks, Bob… Hope I win!!!

  • Wermund W. Vetrhus

    Oh and the colour yellow for maximum impact against the other suits

  • Wermund W. Vetrhus

    I would really like the Architect Element T-Shirt so I can put it on at my graduation seremony! 

  • William_K_M

    Bob I love your Element Design T-Shirts, and yes I am a stickler for paying homage to the Old School, so please don’t remove the Old School Architect from the Line up. 
    It did give me an idea, which maybe I could work with you to develop, a series or a line of t-shirts that are dedicated to the “old school architect”!

    An image of the Bauhaus or Villa Savoye comes to mind for some reason anyone else?
    Keep up the Good Work “Captain” Awesome!

  • Erik Jens

    Bob, you’re an inspiration to architectural buffs like myself. Alas, I can’t request the Architect Shirt, no license. Can’t request the Architectural Student shirt unless it stands for school of hard knocks enrollment.  I would be proud to wear the Cad Ninja shirt as that is what I find myself doing 12 hours a day.  Oh, and in dark chocolate, so it wont show when my breakfast of Oreos goes crumbly.  Kudos on another great idea!

  • Erik Jens

    Bob, you’re an inspiration to architectural buffs like myself. Alas, I can’t request the Architect Shirt, no license. Can’t request the Architectural Student shirt unless it stands for school of hard knocks enrollment.  I would be proud to wear the Cad Ninja shirt as that is what I find myself doing 12 hours a day.  Oh, and in dark chocolate, so it wont show when my breakfast of Oreos goes crumbly.  Kudos on another great idea!

  • I am a CAD Ninja! I love the new title, so much better than “intern” 🙂

  • John Cruice

    I would love the Architecture Student in Ice Grey for the next 2 years. I’ll upgrade to another element when I graduate. 🙂

  • John Cruice

    I would love the Architecture Student in Ice Grey for the next 2 years. I’ll upgrade to another element when I graduate. 🙂

  • John Cruice

    I would love the Architecture Student in Ice Grey for the next 2 years. I’ll upgrade to another element when I graduate. 🙂

  • John Cruice

    I would love the Architecture Student in Ice Grey for the next 2 years. I’ll upgrade to another element when I graduate. 🙂

  • Id. I tell you. Id. Now pick me or I’ll tell Mrs. LoA that you’ve been saying it’s 15, but feels like 16!

  • @McCArch

    Well, I wanted Architect, but I don’t drink coffee…or any hot liquids for that matter. I know. It’s weird. Anyhoo, I think i’d go with Design. It’s simple, clean and I do indulge in a cocktail or three. Bauhaus was a consideration, but the icons are a little too intricate, especially the chair, which is not what I think of when I see the word Bauhaus.

    Wow. How much more can I over think this?

    Charcoal shirt, light grey (silver?) logo. That’s the ticket.

    • C’mon – the Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer is toooootally Bauhaus!! It’s iconic (not to mention it was a total bitch to draw in AutoCAD)

      … now you got me rethinking things

      me-thinks your chances of winning aren’t so good anymore (just kidding – it’s all up to the Random Integer  Generator 5000 to pick the winner)

  • Katie

    I just found your website when doing some research on play house designs.  I am addicted.  I would love one of your T-shirts, AR on light green!

  • Michelle Linden

    I’m digging the Bauhaus… and I’m flexible on color! 🙂
    That is probably the first time an architect has said that…

    • normally it’s flexible on color as long as it black, white or some neutral shade in-between the two.

      Good luck!

  • Thenyel

    Architecture Student on black please @726330a6289c06e11502cdb263a6c589:disqus 

  • Armagan II

    Top Notch Logos, and as your website!  Very Cool and well thought out, just like an architect. I like the “Ar” in Charcol.


  • Lauren Moss

    These are the coolest t-shirts ever! Thanks for the opportunity; I’d go with Architect in Charcoal…

    • Lauren Moss

      Okay, couldn’t wait and after spending half the afternoon determining which designs were my favorites, I placed an order.  Figured I read this blog too much to not support a lovely night out for Bob and his wife.  Or at least a clean cat box once and a while… 😉 Cheers!